Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Official 2012 Planting List

Aka, I hope I don't add anything else.

I remember last year I planted so many things but only a few plants grew. This year I told myself I'd scale back.     I wouldn't overcrowd everything. Well, I think I did that....I've planted several of the same things, just different varieties. So on one hand there's less, but on the other there's more. B's mom had originally told me that I'd planted too much in one space- I asked her about her garden this year, because I thought it looked more full than mine ever had. Apparently what she meant was not so much that I planted too many different veggies, but that I should've planted lots of the same thing in one space. One bed for beans. One bed for tomatoes, etc. Anyway, here's what I've got so far:

Sugar Snap peas
Oregon Sugar Pod snow peas
Little Marvel pea
Kentucky Wonder pole beans
Tendergreen bush beans (using seeds from 2011)
Bush Blue Lake bean 274
Gold Rush wax bush bean (using seeds from 2011)
Brittle wax bush beans
Packman broccoli
Red potatoes
Russet potatoes
Amish Paste tomato
Health Kick Hybrid tomato
Big Mama Hybrid tomato
Chocolate Cherry tomato
Husky Red Cherry tomato
3 unknown transplant tomatoes from C's compost pile
Gypsy sweet pepper
Sweet California Wonder pepper
Nantes Half Long carrots
Early Select garlic (I think this is the one- I ordered them last year from Burpee, and didn't write the name down)
Dutch Yellow shallots (same as the garlic. I think this is what I ordered last year)
Generic everbearing strawberries (Home Depot didn't give them a name, just the basic strawberry plants, I'm assuming)
3 other strawberry plants that I planted last year (also from Burpee. Again, didn't write the name down.) 
Citronella (I was given two plants from one of B's coworkers)
Lemon basil
Calypso Cilantrol
Greek oregano
(Sage, garlic chives, possibly sweet marjoram left over from last year.)
2 unknown blueberry plants from last year (one has blue flowers, the other has white.) 
Unknown raspberry plant from last year
 Kiwigold raspberry (I thought it died last summer but has come back)
Apache thornless blackberry bush
And finally to be planted when I have a place for them: 
Lemon cucumber
Sweeter Yet Hybrid cucumber
Honeybun Hybrid cantelope 
Sunray Hybrid squash
Sweet Zuke Hybrid zucchini

See, more but less, right? 
Did a little bit more planting today, so meet the newest members of the 2012 garden family are:

Top left: Citronella. Bed: pepper and tomato
 On the left are 2 of C's compost tomatoes, and the third one is in the white planter. They're looking a little...rough. I think it's a combination of having sat in B's car for a day (She gave them to him on Friday, I didn't get them till last night), transplant shock and the fact that I transplanted them on a warm, bright sunny day. Fingers crossed they survive. In the two green planters are the cherry tomatoes. The "thinner" one is the Chocolate Cherry.

Thing One and Thing Two
The generic strawberries from Home Depot. I bought two pots of them, but I think there are actually 5 plants total. It looked like there was more than one plant growing in each. 

I also put in two more rows of carrot seed tape, in between the ones that have already sprouted. 
Lastly, to attempt some drastic weed control in the 5x5 bed from the previous owner, I laid down newspaper, covered it with soil and watered it. It's my fault that I didn't prep the bed very well this spring, but in my defense, I already had garlic growing that had been planted in October. Plus there were tons of tiny little seeds popping up; I didn't think my back could handle all the pulling/digging required to get rid of them. But how is this any different than weed control fabric, eh?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It's been a week since I posted. I think that's a reasonable amount of time to go between posts. I've made comments/notes in my notebook all week. I also want to do better at posting pictures so I can see the changes. This is about half of my garden. Those beds are about twice as long as you see here (12 feet)

The garden is kind of a mish-mash of beds/containers
 I was worried that I'd gotten behind on my planting compared to B's mom. We were there last weekend and her peas were flowering. Mine started flowering 2 days ago, so not too bad.

Artistic picture of the peas with azaleas. 
Flowers are pretty

I planted a few more seeds in this barrel to help fill in the peas and to be  sort of a successive planting; however,  there's about a 6 week difference  between the two. Oh well.

My potato experiment of planting them in laundry baskets seems to be going ok, except I'm dumb and should've lined them with some hay first. But they're growing. I lose a little bit of soil each time I water, but if it gets really bad then I'll put some more on top- essentially hilling them.  
Look at that brave little sprout poking out the side 
The red potatoes (front) are doing significantly better than the russet (back).
The russet took 6 weeks before it gave me any greens. 

My pride and joy this summer are my broccoli plants. I tried to grow them from seed but they didn't work out too well. I think I need to invest in some grow lights and a cat free area. Last year my direct sow seeds didn't do anything. I guess that's why I'm so in love with these broccoli and keep taking pictures of them. 
 I learned today that Packman broccoli gets to be about 2-3 feet high and 1- 1.5 feet wide; the heads grow to about 10 inches. And that one down in the right corner already has side shoots growing!

I want to believe that I'm going to have tons of strawberries this year. But I'll probably need to buy some more plants. I've got three going really well now. 

Carrots! I wish I'd planted more rows.
Now that I'm done thinning the
seedlings, I feel like there aren't
that many at all. 

I planted 3 tomatoes: Amish Paste, Big Mama Hybrid and Health Kick (a Burpee exclusive. It's supposed to have more lycopene, or something like that) in the top left corner is a sweet bell pepper and in the container is one of 2 citronella plant's from one of B's coworkers. 

 On a whim I planted some of the tendergreen bush bean seeds I bought last year, and those are the sprouts on the right of the bottom photo. Then I planted some Kentucky Wonder pole beans, which are the sprouts on the left of the bottom photo and in this small one on the right. The tendergreen has germinated pretty well, I think out of 10 seeds planted, maybe 5 of them have sprouted. And just to be on the safe side, I planted another bush bean seed in the rows with them- to fill it out. I've also got wax bean seeds next to my broccoli, but they don't seem to feel like sprouting......
Eeeeeeee! Look at my broccoli in the background!!!!!!
My mystery snow/snap peas have flowered too, and have nearly doubled their height in 2 weeks. I planted a few more seeds next to them, but like the peas, there's about a 6 week difference. 

And finally, the herb garden. I need to find a more permanent solution but they're so pretty sitting on that little table! So many things I want to do with this garden.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Broccoli. And Maybe Some Other Veggies

This is about the time, (I can say that now that this is my SECOND summer gardening) that I start to get all giddy about my garden- taking lots of pictures, ogling every little seedling that pops up, counting exactly how many of each kind of seed I planted and where (using diagrams of course) and I take lots of notes in my little notebook. In about 2 months I won't care. Well, not about the notebook at least. Last year I quit on the 17th of July just as my little cucumber plants started fruiting.

Also, broccoli is delicious. 
Anyway, I am proud to say that all of my broccoli plants have heads. Some bigger than others, and I'm wondering about the one that seems to be 2 plants in one. But who cares? I have heads! I didn't last year. They just stayed leggy and didn't do much. And apparently, as I learned today, broccoli can last here until about June.

What else? Well, I've got pea sprouts all over the place- since I didn't get a good harvest last year, I put more out and hopefully in better places. There's about a 6 week difference between plantings, though. I'm worried that the newer ones won't do anything.

I also need to buy more bean seeds. On a whim after reading a forum post, I thought I might try to use my old bean seeds from last year- but to no avail. I could be wrong, though, it might still be too cold for them. However, I did leave them in the shed all last winter......

The potatoes started sending up some signs of life- the red potatoes only took about 2 weeks, where the russet potatoes took over a month. I'll have to research if that's normal.

Lastly, I've finally got all my purchases from Burpee- 3 tomato plants, 1 pepper plant and herbs: cilantro, basil, oregano, thyme and parsley. The tomato are Heirloom Amish paste (to make sauces), Health Kick (which is supposed to have more of the healthy things that are found in tomatoes) and Big Mama Hybrid. It's just the two of us right now and I'm the only one who eats tomatoes, so it's kind of pointless to buy a bunch (even though I want to. But I might actually cave and buy a grape or cherry tomato variety), and B is such a picky eater. The reason I only got one pepper plant (California Sweet Bell)? B doesn't like peppers. Or salsa. Or tomatoes. Or cooked onions. At least he likes broccoli. And he'll only eat squash when it's covered in sugar and flour (zucchini bread)

Oh well. It's a fine line- growing lots of fun things and experimenting because I can, versus being realistic about what we'll eat. B's mom has a much larger garden than me so I can't give her anything. Well, she might like some of those lemon cukes I'm going to try out. And my parents are too far away. People at work might like them. And then I think I shouldn't give my veggies away but I should keep them for us in case the apocalypse comes.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Welcome back, gardener

Oops. Guess it's been a while since I wrote. Last summer got away from me and I never could find the right time (meaning motivation) to update.
So to finish up the 2011 growing season:
The peas and snow peas never did very well- or at least they never produced much fruit. I don't know what went wrong, really. I tried again this spring with more, and with them better located to get more sun. It still took a long time for them to start sprouting, (the ones I planted this year) exactly a month. 
All the strawberry crowns that I bought and planted did exactly NOTHING. Not a single damn sprout popped up. I bought some live plants from Burpee this past...October-ish? and planted them in some hanging planters (that are hanging out on the ground) They seem to be doing pretty well. With the weird winter this year, they were trying to fruit last November (!)
The only tomatoes that did really well were the black cherry tomatoes; I'm not going to try and grow tomatoes from seed again. I really do think my problem last year was that did my tomatoes from seed and that I started the seeds too early. I think I also need to invest in some grow lights and a special place to grow them (seeds, that is) instead of sticking them on the table in front of the window with a lamp on them in the craft room. And actually, I have three plants that will be shipped next week!
Along with the tomatoes, the other seeds that I started inside and transplanted didn't do well either: Cukes, squash, beans. All those I'm going to direct sow this year. When I finally was willing to believe that my transplants weren't going to do well, I stuck some some seeds in the ground with them which did pretty well- the wax beans exploded in the barrel planter. I had TONS. I find it ironic that I couldn't get the wax beans to grown indoors, but they did amazingly well outside. 
I definitely need to work some fertilizer/compost/organic matter through my beds for next year. 
The cukes didn't do well being direct sowed, but I ended up buying some seedlings from the local nursery that grew really well. I got a lot of really delicious, big fruits. Too bad I don't like pickles. I wonder if you can can cukes and not pickle them- with a pressure cooker, or course.  I'm hoping to do seeds this year though (I've already bought them)
Squash didn't do well either; they weren't getting fertilized. I put in some flowers so hopefully that will bring some bees or not-veggie-ruining bugs to help with that. 
The carrots didn't do well in my opinion. I mean, they grew about 1/2" to an 1", but I think I should've let them grow longer? I know I pulled them out because I thought they had been in the ground way too long but weren't getting any bigger. The forum that I read told me that they needed to stay in. This year I used seed tape for the carrots. We'll see if it does better?
Humble garden beginnings
And lastly, the pepper plants I bought from walmart did great. I bought them on a whim, and stuck them in the 5x5 planter. They was supposed to be a red, orange and green plant, but they never changed colors. I didn't leave them growing long enough. And I accidentally ripped off half of one of the plants with the hose. ooops.
So, that's that. 

On to 2012!

Planting list:
Sugar Snap pea
Little Marvel Pea
Oregon Sugar Pod Pea
Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean
Gold Rush Wax Bean
Packman Broccoli
Red Potatoes
Russet Potatoes

 I tried to grow some broccoli from seed, but that didn't work. I mean, it worked, they grew but they were too leggy and didn't grow very well in the raised bed The packman broccoli are transplants that I bought from Lowes.
They're doing very very well; hopefully I'll see some heads forming soon. I read online it usually takes 60 days from transplanting to see heads form. They were planted on March 11th.  

I've planted the wax beans next to the broccoli, and next to are the carrot seed tape strips. I put in three. They sprouted in about 2 weeks, and I've thinned them out. Someone said that one of the most common mistakes that a newbie gardener makes is that they don't thin out their seedlings.

Lily of the Valley

In an effort to get more insects/bees that could help pollinate my veggies, and to make the yard look a little nicer, I planted some Hellebores and Lily of the Valley since they do well in a shade garden. 

First hellebore bloom

 I mentioned the peas that I was trying this year- I put some little marvel pea seeds into the barrel planter (because it did so well with the beans)- 18 in all but only 6 sprouted. I planted some more in the barrel last weekend.

Snow or snap peas?
Same with the snow/snap peas. I planted 6 of each, but I only got 4 of one of them. I think it might be snow peas because that's the order I wrote it down in, but I can't be sure. Either way, I planted some more snow/snap peas in the 5x5 last weekend also, and some more in the second new raised bed. So, hopefully tons of peas/snow peas/snap peas/beans/wax beans any day now. 
I'm giving potatoes one more shot- planted them in a laundry basket copying an idea I saw on Pinterest. Except I'm dumb and I should've lined it with something. The soil "erodes" out the holes every time I water. Oh well. Only the red potatoes have sprouted as of now, hopefully the russet potatoes will soon. 

Last but not least, the fruit bushes- I planted 2 blueberry, one black berry, one raspberry and 3 strawberry bushes/crowns last fall, and they're starting to take off and fruit. I know I was supposed to prune them, but I guess another rookie mistake, I didn't....Oh well. Next spring, I promise! That's about all for now. 

I have 2 different cuke seeds to plant, along with melon, zucchini and summer squash. I'm going to wait until May to put those in. 

So far so good?